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Friday, July 6, 2012

Long Beach Fire Department: New Fire Chief Has LBFD Blood

Mike DuRee, a Long Beach native, a fourth-generation Long Beach firefighter and an 18-year veteran of Long Beach Fire Department, is the city’s new fire chief. 
Long Beach fire department officials announced today that Mike DuRee, a Long Beach native, a fourth-generation Long Beach firefighter and an 18-year veteran of Long Beach Fire Department, is the city’s new fire chief. 

DuRee, currently interim deputy chief responsible for the Fire Prevention Bureau, has extensive experience in the fire service. He began his career with the Long Beach Fire Department in 1994, and has served as a firefighter, paramedic/firefighter, captain, battalion chief and assistant chief, according to the office of City Manager Patrick H. West. 

While he’s the fourth generation of his family to be a Long Beach firefighter, DuRee also is a fifth-generation City of Long Beach employee, city officials said. The new chief was born and raised in Long Beach, and he and his family have made Long Beach their home for their entire lives, according to city officials. DuRee has taken an active role in numerous community groups and local non-profit organizations that seek to improve the quality of life in Long Beach.

Chief DuRee’s operational experience includes serving as a chief officer, incident commander, company officer, paramedic and public information officer.  The new chief also served as a captain with the Marine Safety Division rescue boat program and public safety dive team member, giving him extensive knowledge of the maritime environment, city officials said. He holds a bachelors degree in public administration and is currently a candidate for his masters degree in public administration with an emphasis on communication and public relations, according to city officials.  DuRee is also a graduate of Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government executive fellowship program for senior executives in state and local government. 

DuRee will replace Deputy Chief Mike Sarjeant, who has served as interim fire chief since Fire Chief Alan Patalano retired in March 2012. The City conducted an intensive national recruitment for the chief, according to the city manager’s office. Three internal and three external candidates, all of whom were extraordinarily well qualified, were ultimately considered for the position, the city manager’s office said when announcing the new chief today.  Those six candidates were interviewed by a diverse community stakeholder panel and a technical panel, including two fire chiefs and a former city manager from a neighboring city.  Three finalists were subsequently interviewed by a panel consisting of various City department directors and a panel of executive management.
The city manager called DuRee an exceptionally capable leader who will serve the city and Long Beach Fire Department well.
“After competing with leaders in the Fire Service in a nationwide search, I am proud and humbled by the opportunity to lead such a fine organization,”
 “My family and I have deep ties to the City of Long Beach and the Long Beach Fire Department.  The men and women of the Long Beach Fire Department are second to none in their level of professionalism and dedication to our community, and as the Fire Chief, I am committed to continuing the great level of service our Department provides the residents, businesses and visitors of Long Beach.  We have a proud 115-year history of service in this City.  I look forward to leading the organization as we continue our tradition of excellent service and move into the next chapter of the Long Beach Fire Department.” -   Chief Mike DuRee said in the city announcement of his promotion.

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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